Sunday, October 21, 2012

Stance of NASA

NASA has released a collection of statements regarding Comet Elenin. In each case, the organization has downplayed the importance of the object and its potential impact on Earth. After the comet was destroyed in space, Don Yeomans of NASA said: “I cannot begin to guess why this little comet became such a big Internet sensation. The scientific reality is this modest-sized icy dirtball’s influence upon our planet is so incredibly minuscule that my subcompact automobile exerts a greater gravitational influence on earth than the comet ever would.”

The Destruction of Elenin

After Comet Elenin was discovered, many people expected the story to be mentioned in the mainstream U.S. media, but it wasn’t. This caused some to suspect that NASA was keeping secrets. The general significance of Comet Elenin was large. In the United States, NASA has a congressional mandate to catalogue all near-Earth objects that are at least 1 kilometer wide. The impact of such an object would be catastrophic to Earth. Studies show that the United States and China are most vulnerable areas to meteor strikes.

Meteors are generated when debris enters

Meteors are generated when debris enters and burns up in Earth’s atmosphere. Some astronomers have reported that meteor swarms correspond closely to the orbits of known comets. Meteor showers are not threatening to the Earth because the comet’s tail usually doesn’t hold large objects. On December 28, 2005, a potentially hazardous asteroid was discovered by Robert S. McMillan and named 2005 YU55. It is approximately 400 m (1,312 feet) in diameter and caused concern for NASA.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012


45P/Honda-Mrkos-Pajdusakova is a short-period comet discovered in 1948. The comet has an elliptical orbit of 5.26 years and a nucleus estimated to be 0.5-1.6 kilometers in diameter. On August 15, 2011, Honda made a close approach of only 0.0600 AU (8,980,000 km; 5,580,000 mi) to Earth. On August 19, the same day that Comet Elenin was destroyed by a coronal mass ejection, Honda was studied by the Goldstone Deep Space Network. The network detected echoes from the nucleus of Honda and it became only the fifteenth comet in history to be detected by radar.

Hopi Blue Star

In early August of 2011, NASA decided to get a picture of Comet Elenin, so they rotated the STEREO-B spacecraft and photographed it. In the picture, the comet appears to be a deep blue color. The color has caused people to make comparisons between the object and the ancient Hopi Indian prophecy of the blue star. The legend states, “When the Blue Star Kachina makes its appearance in the heavens, the Fifth World will emerge.” The Maya also have stories of a dangerous blue star. The color of Elenin has caused Richard C Hoagland to suggest it is the Hopi Blue Star, a claim which has spawned a number of articles.

The Predictions

Since Comet Elenin was discovered, NASA was adamant in the fact that the comet would not come close enough to strike or harm the Earth in any way. People responded by using a collection of hypothetical scenarios for disaster. For example, if Elenin was to hit an asteroid while passing through the Main Asteroid Belt, it could have been thrown off its predicted trajectory and pushed toward an imminent crash with Earth. People began to fear the comet’s massive coma.

Deep Impact

One of the reasons Comet Elenin has received so much attention is that it holds similarities to the blockbuster movie Deep Impact (1998). For starters, in the movie, the comet is found by a teenage boy named Leo and referred to as Elle (extinction level event). In reality, it was discovered by a young Russian astronomer named Leonid Elenin, who was born in 1981 and 17-years-old when Deep Impact came out. It is a coincidence that a man named Elenin discovered a near-earth comet.

The Discovery

On December 10, 2010, an amateur Russian astronomer named Leonid Elenin discovered a long-period comet in the U.S. state of New Mexico. The near-earth object was given the name of Elenin and was estimated to be 3-4 km in diameter. Almost immediately after the discovery was announced, articles began to appear on the Internet that claimed the comet was dangerous to Earth. People began to make connections between Elenin and extinction level events.

What is a Comet?

In ancient history, comets were traditionally considered to be bad omens. They are small Solar System bodies (SSSB) that will display a visible coma (a thin, fuzzy, temporary atmosphere) when close to the Sun. The main difference between an asteroid and a comet is that a comet shows a coma. Asteroids are also thought to have a different origin from comets, having formed inside the orbit of Jupiter rather than in the outer Solar System. This gives the orbital history of comets more importance.

Monday, October 15, 2012

“Parasites” is admittedly a pretty damn broad umbrella

“Parasites” is admittedly a pretty damn broad umbrella. You can find them within every phylum of every kingdom of life on our planet, they easily outnumber non-parasitic or “free living” lifeforms and almost nothing lives entirely free from their influence. The very word “parasite” is associated with uselessness, and even science was once guilty of the belief that parasites were “lower” on the evolutionary ladder. Today, however, biologists are waking up to the incredible sophistication and significant ecological impact of parasitic organisms. Nearly every wild animal on this planet has parasites feeding and breeding inside it as we speak, influencing the host’s health and even behavior to better suit their needs. It may sound disturbing, but as this has been going on since the dawn of life as we know it, it should have always been obvious that they’re as much a part of nature’s delicate balance as any other form of life, even regulating entire food webs and possibly influencing evolution itself. Most have adapted to cause as little harm to hosts as possible (why kill your own delicious, delicious house?) and even those that haven’t are still playing their part in population control. Parasites are just the eyeless, brainless little governors of ecoville, working hard on the inside to keep those cheetahs running on time.

Maggots - The most nauseating, abhorrent organisms in nature

The very thought of fly larvae squirming around in a corpse is difficult for some people to stomach. It seems like they’re often regarded as one of the most nauseating, abhorrent organisms in nature, largely due to the whole “squirming around in corpses” thing, but the same reasons people detest them are the same reasons they shouldn’t. A dead body is a ticking time bomb of contagious diseases, and no other scavenger can even come close to the importance of maggots. Everything about these little critters – shape, size, squirminess, sliminess and even that ghostly pale coloration – is adapted for maximum efficiency carcass removal, scouring every nook and cranny of a skeleton for the tiniest scraps of soft tissue. Thanks to maggots, most carcasses only lie around in the wilderness for a few weeks before only bones remain, while other processes of decomposition would have them festering for months. Maggot activity is even somewhat antiseptic, destroying the bacteria they’re basically competing with for food. The bottom line is…would you rather every animal dropping dead every moment of every day nourish several hundred flies or several million Anthrax bacteria?

Everyone hates cockroaches

 Everyone hates cockroaches! They’re dirty, nasty, parasites who only exist to live in our garbage, right?! Can there possibly be anything good about them? Do I still have to answer that at this point? The order Blattodea has over 30,000 known species, yet only around a dozen or so have the special characteristics to thrive in our homes – characteristics which make them useful scavengers in the wild. Most roaches prefer a more conventional insect life outdoors, where they help to recycle decaying vegetation, pollinate plants, and in some cases even prey on more harmful insects. Even those few “pest” species aren’t as filthy as you think…in fact, they’re only ever as filthy as their surroundings, and they’re just as likely to live in perfectly sanitary conditions as in decaying garbage. House roaches only have the potential to spread disease primarily by walking through something germ-ridden (like an unkempt kitchen trash bin) and accidentally tracking it onto your food, which is actually rather unlikely; germs don’t cling to their bodies all that easily, and the little neat-freaks groom themselves almost constantly.  Yes, believe it or not, roaches practice better hygiene than a lot of humans.

Dolphins are sweet

What…you thought all of these were going to be negative misconceptions? Many of us unfortunately have it in our heads that while Sharks are mindless, ravenous eating machines, Dolphins are sweet, playful little sea-people, ready to protect us from those big, bad sharks and do fun tricks for our amusement. Dolphins, however, are predators themselves; lethally powerful, cunningly intelligent, fiercely territorial, pack hunting flesh-eaters. Animals live by very different rules, and while it isn’t fair to categorize them as “good” or “bad,” it’s hard to find dolphins very cute when they have been observed tormenting, killing and even sexually assaulting other animals for often unclear reasons, including young pups of their own species, and attacks on humans are by no means unheard of.
Maybe they’re only smiling so much at their own perverse fantasies.

One of nature’s most feared predators

One of nature’s most feared predators, sharks are generally portrayed by the media as ravenous, unfeeling jaws and teeth that happen to have animals attached to them. World-wide, however, the typical year sees under a dozen human deaths by shark attack, as opposed to thousands of deaths by drowning or other swimming accidents. Sharks are quite a bit more intelligent than most people give them credit for, and often avoid prey as unfamiliar as humans. Predation by sharks is of great importance to the health of fish populations, maintaining the balance necessary for many different species to thrive in the same environment, and they’re far from brainless eating machines – some species even demonstrate play behavior and sharks in captivity may be possible to “tame.”

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

The tarantula is vulnerable

There are so many different sizes and color combinations and temperaments to choose from. Some have stripes like a tiger, and some have markings like a skeleton. Most are hairy. They can be found in America, Africa, Asia and Australia. The African and Asian tarantulas are known as old world, and typically have stronger venom and are more aggressive than the new world tarantulas found in America that usually will just flick irritating hairs when threatened. They eat quite a variety of living things, from crickets to mice. Some are arboreal, living high up in trees and others are terrestrial, living on the ground or in burrows.

Scorpions are predators, eating other insects

Scorpions are predators, eating other insects. They sting their prey to paralyze it before eating. There are over 2,000 species, and 30 or more have the venom that can kill a human. They grow from between 0.3 inches to 9 inches long. They have 8 legs, 2 claws that vary in size according to species, and a segmented tail with a stinger on the end.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Giant Stingray

What grew 17 feet across, had a 10 inch poison spike in its tail and was strong enough to drag a boat filled with people? In this case, a prehistoric super-fish that is still lurking around in fresh and brackish waters from the Mekong river to northern Australia. Stingrays have been around since a few million years after the dinosaurs died out, and have proven to be a successful design, much like the sharks they descended from.

Livyatan melvillei

Remember me mentioning “hypercarnivorous” whales? Well here it is. Imagine a cross between an orca and a sperm whale. Livyatan melvillei was a whale that ate other whales. It had the largest teeth of any animal to ever use their teeth to eat (elephant tusks are bigger, but they just look impressive and help them smash things; they don’t eat with them) topping out at 1.18 feet. They lived in the same oceans and ate the same food as the Megalodon, so this whale actually had to compete with the largest predatory shark ever.

These sharks grew to be about 15 feet long

These sharks grew to be about 15 feet long, and had a lower jaw that was made of a “tooth whorl”. It looks like a cross between a circular saw and a shark, and when you mix apex predators with power tools, the world quakes in fear.

Kronosaurus is another short-necked pliosaur

Kronosaurus is another short-necked pliosaur (like Liopleurodon up at number 9), and like Liopleurodon, its overall length has been contested. It was a “mere” 30 feet long and the longest teeth in its massive mouth were up to 11 inches long. This is why it was named after Cronus, the king of the old Greek Titans.

Dunkleosteus was a 30 foot long carnivorous tank

Dunkleosteus was a 30 foot long carnivorous tank. It was outlasted by sharks, but I am sure that is small consolation for the variety of creatures this beast ate. Instead of teeth, it had bony ridges, like a turtle. It has been calculated that they had a bite force of 8,000 pounds per square inch, putting it on par with crocodiles

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Hermit crabs live in shells

Hermit crabs live in shells and as they grow change to newer, larger shells. The largest species can live 30 to 70 years or more. They are great climbers and diggers, and fun to watch. Some species live under water, like marine crabs, and others on land. Most are aquatic, living in saltwater, and even the land ones must return to the sea to breed. There are many different colors, like red, brown, and purple, with varying patterns such as dots and stripes. They are scavengers and omnivores, eating dead things and plants.

Millipedes are long, round, slow, and eat decaying vegetation

Unlike centipedes, millipedes are long, round, slow, and eat decaying vegetation. They also have 2 pair of legs per segment, as opposed to 1. They can have 36 to 400 legs, depending on the species. There are over 10,000 species. Millipedes burrow into the ground. Some may secrete a poison through their skin, and there are some mammals that get drugged off this secretion by licking the millipede. They defend themselves by curling into a ball and do not bite.

Centipedes are fast and aggressive

Centipedes are fast and aggressive. They can be found in the tropics and in deserts. They hunt at night and eat roaches, crickets, mice and bats. If bothered, they will bite or pinch, and are venomous. They have flattened bodies, a single pair of legs per segment, and can get up to twelve inches long. There are over 8,000 species.

Ants are everywhere

Ants are everywhere. They are predators, scavenger, and herbivores. They are very social and live in groups with a hierarchy. The colony is ruled by a queen, who is the only fertile female. The other, infertile females, are workers and soldiers. They communicate through pheromones, sounds, and touch and defend themselves by biting or stinging. They are related to wasps and bees. Some, like harvester ants are sold as food for pet horned lizards.

There are more than 350,000 species of beetles in the world

There are more than 350,000 species of beetles in the world, living in diverse places like deserts, tropical climates, and even in water. Some are pests that eat garden plants and some eat the pests, like aphids and mites, that eat garden plants. Some are useful in cleaning up carrion or dung. And some are eaten by other insects, animals, and birds. They lay eggs that hatch into larvae that can in some cases take years to become mature adults. The adults are generally not long-lived.

Most people think of roaches as pests

Most people think of roaches as pests. Yet only 5 or so out of 4,000 species of roaches are household pests. Roaches adapt easily to their surroundings, although they are typically found in warm areas. They are mostly omnivores, but there are some species that eat wood. They are fast and very hardy, and can survive without food for a long time, without air for up to forty five minutes, and being submerged in water for half an hour. It is believed that roaches would survive a nuclear holocaust, and they certainly have a higher resistance to radiation than humans. As pests, they can leave trails of bacteria with their feces and cause allergic reactions in humans.

Saturday, September 29, 2012

This is the most lethal chemical

Some plants have taken their self-defense up a notch. These plants, the chillies, use capsaicin, three times more potent than mustard oil. It is the most lethal chemical found in any human food source on earth. Less than 4g of this substance is enough to kill a large adult human. Although few chillies have such an amount, a small number have been cultivated specifically to increase their capsaicin content. Smaller amounts of capsaicin are often eaten by people in a variety of countries, and produce a tingling sensation in the mouth. The Naga Jolokia chilli, on the other hand, is a hybrid created in northern India which contains two hundred times more capsaicin than the hottest commercially available chillies. The amount of capsaicin is enough to disrupt neural processes, resulting in a signal of intense pain and heat being sent to the brain. To smell the air close to one of these chills is said to be like snorting fire, and can result in permanent anosmia. It cannot be touched with bare skin. It is used in India to deter elephants from farming areas simply by touching them on fences. It is important to note that the chillies themselves are not used, rather, anything they touch becomes so unpleasant to animals with good senses of smell that they give it a wide berth. In cooking, Naga Jolokia is seen as a challenge by many people, but even then it is only lightly touched on the food, as to actually include the chilli itself in a dish can result in death. The Indian military is currently planning on weaponizing it.

In the tropics of Africa grows the caliber bean

In the tropics of Africa grows the caliber bean, a highly toxic legume. When eaten, it causes damage to the nervous system, muscle spasms, seizures, loss of bladder and bowel control, and loss of respiratory control, resulting in death by suffocation. It follows that these beans are not eaten for sustenance. Instead, the Calabar people used them as a trial by ordeal to prove a person’s guilt or innocence. If someone was accused of a crime but there was not enough evidence to conclude things, such as in the case of accusations of witchcraft or marital affairs, caliber beans would be used to establish a verdict. According to tradition, the accused person would swallow the beans and wait for the result. If the poisonous beans killed them, the person was deemed to have been guilty and their life taken by the gods. If instead poison-induced muscle spasms caused them to vomit the beans before the poison had enough time to take its full deadly effect, they were deemed to have been declared innocent by the gods and pardoned of any crime.

This tree contains deadly amounts of a concentrated poison

In Japan, people used to practice an extreme form of Buddhism called Sokushinbutsu. One of its stranger focuses was to achieve enlightenment by mummifying yourself over several years while still alive. A key part of this was a tea made from the urushi tree, Toxicodendron vernicifluum. This tree contains deadly amounts of a concentrated poison called urushiol, also found in much smaller quantities in poison ivy. The tea would be taken in order to produce an extreme and violent reaction. The body would lose all fluids via numerous orifices almost immediately, and the remaining flesh would be highly toxic. This was perfect for mummification, as it ensured that there was almost no water left in the body for it to decompose, and the remaining tissues would become too poisonous from the urushi tea for even maggots to infest. When prepared properly, the tea itself is not quite deadly, but it was used before death to ensure the body would mummify properly and not rot or decay. Today it is illegal in Japan to drink urushi tea.

The fruit of angel’s trumpet plants

In the majority of countries on earth, adulthood is gained simply by living to a certain age. This has not always been the case in a great deal of cultures, and many rites of adulthood used to involve bizarre and dangerous practices. In the Americas, one Indian tribe would use the fruit of angel’s trumpet plants to determine if a boy was ready to become a man. The fruit contains a poison, datura, which causes strong delirium, fever, rapid heart rate, violent behavior, permanent memory loss, and other physical and mental discomforts. It has caused thousands of inadvertent deaths when accidentally eaten by children or when taken in an incorrect dose by adults. It is said to cause the most unpleasant intoxication of all known substances. A boy of the tribe in question would consume a very carefully calculated amount of datura before being caged for several weeks so that his violent outbursts would not harm others. Any boy who survived the ordeal was declared a man. Memory loss was a key aspect of this, as the amnesia caused by datura was supposed to make the person forget what it was to be a child, making them suitable for adulthood. Unfortunately, the mental affects of the drug were often permanent, causing the boy to lose knowledge of how to eat, speak, or function as a human at all. Many adolescents were reduced to mentally disabled shells of whom they once were.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Creatures Under the Sea

Diversity in the deep
The Census of Marine Life is aimed at cataloging as many species of sea creatures as possible. This is a Venus flytrap sea anemone (Actinoscyphia sp.) from the Gulf of Mexico. Its common name includes references to two terrestrial plants (“Venus flytrap” and “anemone”), but the species is classified as a type of polyp. It closes its tentacles to capture prey or protect itself. Here are some wonderful and never seen before nature creatures under the sea.

The praying mantis

The praying mantis is so called because of its long spiked forelegs that are bent as if in prayer. Using these legs, the mantis lunges, grabs its prey, and holds it while eating it alive. They are predators, living on other insects, even cannibalizing one another at times. They lay their eggs in the autumn in layered clusters, covered by a foam that hardens and is waterproof, hanging from a branch. In the spring, the tiny babies that survived by not being eaten by their siblings or other insects climb the branch and go through several metamorphosis until they are adults. With their final metamorphosis, they have wings.
As pets, they are fun to watch. Feeding is generally easy, as they are aggressive and quick to snatch the offered food. Watching them eat may take a strong stomach, as the prey is alive and struggling through most of the ordeal. There are many different kinds of mantises in the pet trade, at all sorts of sizes. The largest mantis is the ischnomantis gigas, at a whopping 6 1/2 inches. The smallest is the bolbe pyhmaea, at about less than half an inch. It is well known that the female will eat the male during copulation. However, this does not always happen, especially if the female has been well fed prior.

The walking stick

The walking stick, otherwise known as stick insect, stick bug, phasmids, ghost insects, or leaf insects, is an herbivore, living on leaves and other plant material. There are over 2,500 species. They are longer and thinner than the mantis, and are often confused as mantids. Although they fall under the subclass pterygoda, meaning winged insect, they have no wings. They go through three life stages: the female drops many eggs that land wherever in the autumn, nymphs emerge in the spring, and by summer they are adults. The female can reproduce without males, and the offspring will be clones of the female. They survive by camouflaging themselves to look like the twigs and branches they perch on, even mimicking the color of said branch.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Neon Green River Canada

The waters of this river in Goldstream Park, Canada, turned neon green. According to the local Environment Ministry, there was a chemical reaction in the water known as “fluorescein”. They believed that somebody dumped fluorescein in the Goldstream River to make a holiday season joke, but that substance wasn’t toxic and fish along with the habitat weren’t affected.

Friday, September 21, 2012

Stunning Examples of 3D Game Digital Artwork

 Video games are the ultimate mash-up of visual goodness and entertainment.  Since their inception, video games have provided great inspiration for offline artists and digital artists alike. 3D concept art requires a high skill level as well as a very creative mind. It establishes mood, setting, textures and overall storyline for the game, as to what the game itself should look like.
Without doubt video games offer some of the richest character designs. Excellent character design helps the player to have what we all know can be an amazing, unforgettable experience.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Realistic Paintings by Joe Simpson

Joe Simpson is a figurative painter currently living and working in London. His paintings have been shown both nationally and internationally, including prestigious venues such as Urbis, Manchester City Art Gallery, Cornerhouse and The House of Commons.   Joe works primarily in oil paint to create

Friday, September 14, 2012

Hilarious Split Family Portraits

Canada-based graphic designer and photographer Ulric Collette has created a shockingly cool project where he’s exploring the genetic similarities between different members of the same family. By splitting

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Illustration Art By Jukka Rajaniemi

 Illustration means any type of drawing, painting, photograph, decoration or other art work created to prescribe sensual information such as poem or story by providing a visual representation graphically. Illustration is as old as writing, with both originating in the pictograph.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Hamilton Pool - True Beauty

37 km away from Austin (Texas, the USA) there is one of the most unusual and picturesque lakes in the world - Hamilton Pool. It's unsual because it is an undergroud and ground lake at the same time. The beauty is contributed by the waterfall falling from 15m height. The lake formed thousands of years ago

The Voice of Faeroe Islands

It is hard to choose words to desribe the nature of Faeroe Islands. The local vocalist Unn Patursson will tell better about her motherland in her song. The song is called Fjart í ringrás. Find and listen to it.

She sings that once the God of vikings spilled a handful of stones on the waters of the Northern Atlantic and everything that remained on the surface was called Faeroe Islands. That trees and bushes don't grow here. That only

Climbing Fuji Mountain

 Perhaps in the list of must visit places of each tourist coming to Japan climbing Fuji is a necessary item. The season of Fuji climbing is open from July to the end of August. Later one may climb only with a guide.
Ready to climb!
Kids and adults both participate.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Hot Springs Of Pamukkale

Hot springs have been known to people since ancient times. Water descending hillslopes forms a cascade of reservoirs with limestone walls. Extremely white terraces were formed in the result of salt deposition from springs which are rich in calcium.

Fantastic Glass Beach of California

Usually when a person throws out litter he/she influences the nature in a negative way. Heaps of litter are not useful, they spoil not only the air, soil and water but also harm the aesthetic look of the natural beauty. Could you ever think of any exceptions to this rule?

Giant Crystals Underground

Cueva de los Cristales - the cave of Crystals is situated in the mining complex Naica, in the Mexican desert of Chihuahua state 300 m underground. Not made by hand miracle appeared as a result of natural creation, unique temperature conditions and natural obstruction of the area that wasn't interrupted for many millions of years. The amazing cave was found in 2000 by two brothers of

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

The Blood Fall Of Antarctica

 Do you see the red liquid flowing out of the Taylor Glacier in Antarctida? The color is obtained due to a high amount of iron oxide in the water. 

Salty water rich in iron leaves a small fissure at the Taylor Glacier. The Blood Waterfall takes its water from a nearby lake covered with a layer of ice which is 400 meters deep.